Japan-American Diplomatic Relations in the Meiji-Taisho Era

By Kamikawa Hikomatsu | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
THE UNITED STATES AND JAPAN ENTER INTO NEGOTIATIONS

I. The United States Policy Toward Japan

A. Commodore Perry's; Mission
On January 24, 1852, when Commodore Mathew Calbraith Perry was appointed Commander of the East Indian Fleet, and United States special envoy to Japan, his fleet was strengthened at his request. He made every preparation in his power, by reading books on Japan, listening to the reports of people who had voyaged in Japanese waters, and to the opinions of those who had engaged in trade in the East, and of scientists. Although he declined the offer of those who had lived in Japan-- Siebold, for instance--to accompany him, he asked the friendly help of the Dutch government. He paid great attention to the selection of his men, and appointed Henry A. Adams as chief of staff. The instruction Commandore Perry received from the United States government stated that because of the location of the United States, American steamers which crossed the Pacific needed ports for fuel, water, and food as well as for anchoring; that American settlers had pushed westward to the West Coast of the United States; that gold mines had been discovered in California which expedited the development there, increased traffic on the Isthmus of Panama, and brought more vessels to cross the Pacific so that the protection of Americans making voyage in the Pacific became important. The points of negotiation with the Japanese government were:
(1) to conclude a permanent agreement with the Japanese government on the protection of the lives and property of shipwrecked Americans in Japanese waters;
(2) to have Japan open her one or more ports to the United

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